What is it?
Sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception. It is only suitable for people who are sure they never want children or do not want more children.
Male sterilisation (vasectomy)
This is a permanent method of contraception. It is not always or easily reversible.
During a vasectomy the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis is surgically cut, sealed or blocked. It takes between one and three months for the last sperm to pass out of the body and for the vasectomy to be effective. There will then be no sperm in the semen, so a woman’s egg can’t be fertilised.
A vasectomy is usually carried out under local anaesthetic, and takes about 15 minutes.
Female sterilisation (tubal occlusion)
This is a permanent method of contraception. It is not usually reversible.
During female sterilisation the fallopian tubes are surgically cut, sealed or blocked. It takes between one and three months to be effective.
Female sterilisation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, but can be carried out under local anaesthetic, depending on the method used.